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In The Garden Daily Devotional
Series: A Walk Through Matthew  (Mathew 7)
Jesus The Teacher - Pt 6
"Dirty Bananas"
Pastor Wayne Clabaugh

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7: 15-20
Scripture Text: "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7: 20 (KJV)

I like Fruit - all kinds of fruit... but my absolute favorite is Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries and Blueberries. Osella (my wife), likes pineapple.

One week last month they had a bunch of fruit on sale and she got me some of each of the kinds I mentioned above. For the first couple of days - I thought I was in paradise eating the fruit of the kingdom and blessed... blessed... blessed. But along about the 4th day... WOE! I got hold of some raspberries that were sour and overly ripe and all I can say is I now understand the terminology of Rev
3:16 where Jesus says to the church at Laodicea - "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."

Because we have grandchildren running around our house almost everyday, Osella has put out a fruit bowl and when the kids come in asking for a treat - she directs them to the fruit bowl. The trick is to keep the fruit in the bowl "fresh" and "looking good" - or like my 3 year old granddaughter said the other day, "I don't want that banana, it's too dirty" is the response you will get. now that banana had  just begun to get spots on the peeling - but she wasn't about to eat something "dirty". After making grandma take it to the kitchen sink and wash it off, and seeing that the banana still looked the same - she decided to have an orange. Well grandma told her that grandpa likes bananas like that thinking  she could get her to just try one... but nothing doing! Yet, when I came back into my office later - laying there in my chair were half a dozen bananas. You guessed it... all dirty! Don't you just love kids?

It's interesting that Jesus would liken the true grit of a man by such a delicate thing as fruit. But He actually wasn't referring to the time it took them to rot... He was referring to the fact that "by the nature of their seed - many were rotten already. In other words... the end product - being the taste and nutritional value of the fruit, is known by the fruit its "branches" bear. So too, a good preacher / teacher is known by the good doctrine he / she brings, and a bad one teacher / preacher is known by his unsound doctrine. So Jesus poses the question:

"Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

I know a young man who had some fairly decent upbringing as a child, and his parents tried to teach him about God and make sure he was in church, but he never really took root. After getting himself in trouble and living most of his younger years behind bars... he got a steady diet of the "thorns and thistle" type Bible teaching from all different "opinions" of the many faiths represented while in Jail. To that I would have to say, "Shame on us ministers for not doing our job in the prisons to see to it that the TRUTH goes forth into those jailhouses."

Now, this young man is "gung-ho" about becoming a minister of the Gospel "when he is released" and he's not looking for a Bible College to attend - just a pulpit. He knows it all and wants to set the record straight. Now, I am privy to a bit of his theology through a friend of mine who is close to this young man, and
let me say, while the heart is right, the branches he has picked his fruit from is a "bad seed", and needs some serious pruning. The problem is - he'll get out and he will probably be heard by a few who don't really know the WORD of God either - yet they see the intensity in his voice and the passion in his delivery and they say, "WOW! This is the voice of Elijah". Just like many who have gone on before... it's even possible that many will "follow him" from miles around - maybe even people from other countries will come to see him, and while the fruit looks eatable... it has no nutritional value and will not produce anything worthwhile. Sooner or later there will be a scandal and many will fall away because another  "supposed Elijah" has led them astray.

If I can put this in perspective... "dirty bananas" are merely aged fruit (some times bruised from too much handling), yet they yield the taste and nutritional value that God intended. Even that bruised peeling has healing qualities for the skin. It is an amazing fruit.

We're a lot like those bananas and while our gruff exterior often seems bruised and maybe even ripe (old fashioned), if we are Christians - the fruit of the Spirit will yield many nutritional values for the true seeker of the Gospel. Properties like Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuferring, Meekness, temperance (ref., Gal 5:22, 23)

Be fruitful today and allow the nutritional value of the Spirit to be "pickable to those you come in contact today.

Let's pray.

Father, work in me today to be "fresh fruit" - anointed every morning with the dew of your WORD and power-packed with the message of the Gospel in a world who is starving for the truth.

In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.


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